Traipse down US-101 past endless “cookie cutter” LA suburban towns: our southern “California Bear” has been “malled” severely. (DO wonder whether it’s my loss of depth perception, or just the knowledge of it loss is what makes LA freeway driving no longer a competitive challenge so much as a major anxiety).
Turn off in San Gabriel, and find Irish-brogued priest sermonizing in its old mission, while a Spanish-speaking priest intones in its more modern replacement. Wander around, past lovely City Hall; find a “major” mural on wall of Mission Art Center, and discover marvelous Mission Playhouse.
Beyond a nearby (now neutered architecturally) Masonic Hall, run across Historical Society, and a Catholic High School which seems as large as Rome’s St Peter’s
Mass over, mosey around mission, cloister, gardens and cemetery. (Hard not to speculate about the “Science” versus “Religion” debate: science buildings usually are built from monies extracted from unknowing taxpayers; churches are funded from congregational contributions)
Alhambra’s Ramona Convent seems to have been converted to a “live in” Catholic high school: its Lourdes-like grotto, a singular reminder of an earlier use.
Pomona, on the other hand, offers splendid Fox/Pomona theater (now used for Sunday afternoon AA dances apparently), a charming 7th Day Adventist Church, a short Second Street Arts/Antiques District, Western Health Chiropractic U beside Centennial Park, some delightful wall murals, and a great treat for “the railroad set”: an awesome arch close to a pedestrian depot.
Pause briefly (continuing my railroad mindset) to check out Claremont’s Historic RR Depot: good, but, not great. (Now, if they would just move it to Pomona…).
Ontario, excepting its pepper trees lining Euclid Drive, proves uninteresting.
Drive out CA-111 to Palm Springs and encounter first incident as van finds no delight at desert heat: gauge rises, not dangerously, but noticeably, so wonder what lies ahead across Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.
Arrive at Palm Springs Visitor Center as thunderstorm roils over Mt Jacinto: wet streets and puddles suggest having just missed real rain. Settle in, than wander uptown, but am not too impressed: a gaping, block-long space which promises a mall; a number of out-of-business shops/restaurants; a busy casino (aren’t they all?); and a cool (in multiple senses) Blue Coyote eatery where cornbread cake proves scrumptious (or was it just the pre-prandial margarita?).